There are so many things to keep track of these days that it's almost impossible to keep up. We certainly need some efficient apps for planning but then here comes the paradox. Don’t you find that planning, which is suppose to save time, can often take quite a lot of time, so that the time left to actually do things just disappears? In the past, I’ve tried many different ways to track my activities and make sure that I don’t forget what I have to get done but I ended up using as many methods and tools as I had projects and tasks to accomplish. Then, after I started using my iPhone and a MacBook, I discovered some really useful apps and methods to capture ideas, be productive and to organize all the areas of my life. It wasn’t easy to find the best ones as, again, there are so many apps available that finding the the most efficient one is a big chore all by itself.
Wunderlist – task management made simple Wunderlist is one of my favourite to-do list or task manager apps, and I’m not the only one – most of my friends, colleagues and people I know who use this app think the same. I think it strikes the perfect balance in terms of feature and simplicity – many other similar either don’t have enough features, or have too many. This is the perfect place to manage all the areas of your life (your work and career, home and family, hobbies and other projects), in a single place, but keep each area separate. Besides the fact that it's a free app and it's easy to use, it’s very elegant and syncs to all your devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod) and also works on Windows and Macs and makes sharing tasks lists simple. You can invite people to share your lists and work on them together. That's very cool as, for example, if you're sharing the shopping list with your family, you can simply add a new item on the list – without having to call or text them – and when they are shopping and open the list, the item is added to it automatically. You can drag and drop the tasks in the order in which you want to do them, assign them to certain lists such as “Work”, “Private”, “Shopping” or anything else you’d like, and you can include extra notes with each task. On top of this, you have a search function that allows you to find a specific task, and if you don’t like the standard wooden background, you can choose another one or create a personalised one. There are of course several cons to this great app – such as the fact that it doesn’t have a repeated tasks function and that there are no built in alarms.
Evernote - remember everything Life is full of experiences and Evernote, being a cross-platform app, helps you to capture, remember and access them all from everywhere. It’s designed you to type a note, save something cool you’ve spotted online, store documents, research better, record audio or capture photos. As with Wunderlist, it synchronises to all your devices. Plus, it has a dedicated email address that allows you to email important data and notes to your account, in case you’re using someone else’s computer or just find it easier. What’s more, it has a IFTTT (If This Then That) support which allows you to automatically send content from other services to your Evernote account (e.g, from Google Reader or Gmail). Use it to stay more organised, plan your next trip, design and manage a project, clear your paper clutter, capture a moment and always find what you need.
Trello – your entire project in a single glanceTrello is for us (the Lovefone team), the best collaborative project management tool. Its simple interface makes tasks seem easier and more enjoyable and it definitely keeps us motivated and more organized. We use it every day in our work. But Trello is not just for work projects. Whether you’re planning a surprise birthday party for your best friend, building a house, managing your business, or just making a list of stuff to get done this weekend, Trello makes sure you’re organized. You can make as many lists as you want and create a board for every single project, then create different cards (grouping of things you need to do) for each task. It has boards for next actions, projects, goals, someday/maybe and project-specific boards. Thus, your things to do can go into a “To do”column, work in progress can go into a “Doing” column and then anything you finish can go into “Done”. You can drag the tasks from one list to another one at any time and also up and down each column to prioritise the tasks. For the best efficiency, we strongly recommend you to keep no more than three tasks in the “Doing” column at a time! All in all, Trello is a fantastic organising tool, especially if you’re a visual thinker in search of simplicity. Now, if you want an app which does just one thing, but does it well, you may consider the following apps as well: Dropbox Dropbox is A password-protected and free app with 2GB worth of storage which allows you to save and share media files and all kind of files and documents on the go. A big plus is the fact that you can make some of the folders public for sharing them with other Dropbox users (or just send a link to those who don’t use Dropbox) – great for sharing documents with colleagues and sharing pictures with family. LastPass This is a free app that stores all your passwords in one place. It might seem a bit of a concern but this storage space is itself password-protected and you need to remember just one master password in order to access it. It works everywhere and it can sync automatically between IOS devices, Windows and Linux computers, Android and smartphones, and every major browser. ReQall This is an intelligent assistant who tells your smartphone what you need to do, and when, and even reminds you of different things you need to do in the same place. For example, if you have a meeting in the town centre but you also need to pick up a parcel from the same area, the app can send you an email, text or IM to remind you that you can pick up the parcel after your meeting. Noteshelf Noteshelf is a note-taking app for iPads that allows you to take notes with your finger or stylus in 17 different shades of ink. That allows you to get rid of the paper notebook but still have the feeling of using a pen and ink. Genius Scan This is another app that make our work at Lovefone easier. A pocket scanner that allow us to quickly scan all our files, receipts, and other important documents, email them as JPEG or PDF documents, then save them in assigned folders from where all of us can see them. Or you can easily upload them to Dropbox or Evernote, the apps I’ve talked about earlier. Now, the list can go on and on but for more inspiration, have a look at what the Apple Store suggests. We’d love to hear about your favorite productivity apps or about how you manage to keep yourself organised. Every piece of information is helpful and we want as well to hear new tricks – so let’s help each other to become more productive and organised!